Five Days, Five Countries, Five Capitals – A Trip in the Setra S 531 DT

Traveling 2000 kilometers across northern Europe – in March 2019, we took the Setra S 531 DT double-decker bus on a test drive. An exciting road trip starting from Germany and traveling through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and all the way to Estonia.

The road trip

Right at the beginning of my internship in the social media team of Daimler Trucks & Buses, I got the opportunity to be part of a project called "Setra Test Drive Northeast Europe" – not a bad start, I would say! Being able to experience this unique road trip through five different countries while testing out the variety of features in the double-decker bus from Setra was amazing. Obviously, we did it under conditions that were very realistic: In addition to a few trade journalists and a few colleagues on board, we took 38 water dummies with us! This means that in terms of weight, the bus was full and the majority of the 78 available seats were occupied. Over the entire journey, the international bus journalists had the chance to test out the bus first-hand – whether they were riding as a passenger or took the wheel themselves. One of my tasks on this trip was to work with my colleague Taida Hasecic to share our road trip with the public using Instagram stories. We were responsible for selecting suitable visual motifs and creating content. Thanks to the Instagram stories, our followers could be part of the journey, experience everything up close and interact with us. The bus was equipped with a multitude of USB ports so that we could work on our smartphones at any time without any issues.

You can watch our instagram story under the "Setra" highlights.

From Berlin to Tallinn

The test drive began in Berlin. Passing by the Victory Column and Brandenburg Gate, we headed east to the capital city of Poland. From Warsaw, we then journeyed to the capital cities of the Balkans: Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. Lots of forests, flat landscapes, and for miles and miles only a sparse number of old houses and huts – it was difficult to tell whether anyone lived in these places. Now and again, you would even see wild deer running over the fields. This part of the journey consisted mostly of straight country roads so we were able to enjoy nature in its full glory, seeing everywhere into the distance over the flat landscapes. Particularly interesting was making yourself comfortable sitting on the upper deck, looking out of the panoramic front window. However, we did not just drive through the country. The S 531 DT also drove smoothly through traffic-heavy city centers - thanks to the latest safety features: It is no longer possible to miss passengers, cyclists and stationary obstacles. Thus, we did not just see numerous landscapes; we also drove through city traffic in the capital cities – passing all the famous landmarks – and were able to experience both nature and urban settings in one trip.

When we arrived in Estonia, I was astonished to see the number of flower shops – particularly in the capital city of Tallinn. You can find one on any corner, hidden inconspicuously in small houses, but mostly with plenty of customers – because as they say in Estonia: never show up empty-handed! It does not matter if the event is small or large – not bringing any flowers is considered very rude. In my opinion, it is beautiful to see so many people in the city with flowers – we could take a page out of their book!


Safety first!

When it comes to safety features, the S 531 DT meets the highest safety standards. It is equipped with long-lasting LED headlamps, which are friendly to the eyes. The Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA 4) emergency braking system makes its global debut in this vehicle. In addition to the existing function (full braking for static obstacles), the system has now been enhanced with regard to pedestrians. The Setra S 531 DT also has a cornering assistant, the Sideguard Assist, for blind spots. This assistant uses radar sensors to monitor the lane to the left of the bus over its entire length of 14 meters. This feature is particularly important in city traffic: It warns of pedestrians and cyclists when making a turn as well as of stationary objects along the course of a curve. We presented a safety demo at the Warsaw Bus Fair so that participants could experience the safety features in person. It is truly amazing how helpful these features are to the bus driver and how they can save people's lives! In my opinion, they are necessary for every bus.

Comfortable travel with sausages on board

Every day we went from one capital city to another – covering distances of nearly 600 kilometers each time. That was quite a lot considering that we were traveling on country roads for almost the entire time. Nevertheless, even right at the start of the journey I realized: the bus is very comfortable! Personally, I have always found bus trips strenuous. But even long trips of up to nine hours passed by so quickly without noticing in the S 531 DT! The Setra Voyage Plus seats do completely live up to their name: they have soft upholstery, an extending headrest and provide generous legroom. The "TopSky" panoramic roof on the upper deck creates a convertible feeling on the coach. It provides passengers an outside view in all directions at a height of four meters. The interior is flooded with light and the design is modern and elegant. While the bus is running, you cannot hear a sound from the transmission. Moreover, there is even a kitchen with a coffee machine on board! Of course, we tested it out right away and put our cooking skills to the test: cooking sausages was not a problem! During the long distances between the cities, that was definitely a highlight for the hungry passengers among us.

Maximum efficiency

The low fuel consumption was amazing to many of the participating journalists. Thanks to the optimized aerodynamics and the perfectly tuned drive train, maximum efficiency is achieved and with that, fuel consumption is reduced. For a fully occupied journey across the country, the Setra S 531 DT double-decker bus needed only about 26 liters of fuel – which comes out to just 0.3 liters per passenger!

My conclusion

Regardless of whether you are making a long-distance trip, an excursion, or driving through the city – the double-decker is a bus for all occasions. A comfortable journey is guaranteed, with the capacity to transport many people. Besides, safety is always kept in mind. That means bus trips can be more pleasant over long distances than you would think – thanks to the Setra S 531 DT. I would be happy to get back on board!

About the author:
Anne Zimmermann is an intern in the Social Media team of Daimler Global Communications Trucks & Buses since March 2019. She is happy to share moments from her travels with the world on Instagram.

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